Travel is not the only cause of weariness for the person on the move. We take anguished flights to funerals and drive in despair to the weddings of men and women whose love we should have claimed. It doesn’t matter if it is just a few blocks; the walk home from the breakup is hell for leather.
Like most of us, I have traveled in sorrow and anxiety. But I have noticed a place between here and my destination where those feelings don’t reach me, a place where both rest and respite seem absolute.
Recently, I returned to town from a long absence. But my house was not ready for me and I took refuge in the home of friends. I lay sick in a bare room with a sheet draped over a single window. I slept a weightless sleep, the sleep of those holding over, of those who can’t be touched.
The waystation is the layover that one endures alone. The apartment of a friend who is out of town or a motel in a valley to which one will ever return. It is a place that only a traveller can find, where the ghosts at your back cannot reach. A suspension; but always a place where you cannot stay. I am blissfully submerged but I must come up to stale air. To confront cold weather or death or oil changes. But the rest is like no other. In this purgatorial enclosure the roof doesn’t hide the stars.
Continuity can be sinful. Sometimes we need little slivers of limbo and the waystations between here and there are as close as we are going to get.